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Last Updated: Monday, 10 January, 2005, 13:56 GMT
Tories claim 'panic' on Hutt sack
Jane Hutt
Jane Hutt had kept her health job since the assembly began
Opposition parties say the Welsh NHS must improve after the sacking of Jane Hutt as health minister.

Her former deputy Dr Brian Gibbons will take over the post.

Conservatives attacked Jane Hutt as "a disaster for the health service".

Both Plaid Cymru and the Liberal Democrats said health policies had to change and not just the minister, but the British Medical Association said Ms Hutt had worked hard in her post.

The Tories' Jonathan Morgan said: "Rhodri Morgan has clearly panicked and bowed to pressure from backbench Labour MPs and Parliamentary candidates.

The problem was never Jane Hutt personally but her and her Government's ineffective policies
Mike German, Lib Dem
"Long-suffering patients across Wales will be relieved that Jane Hutt is no longer in a position to reap further misery and mismanagement on the NHS.

"This is clearly a move to shore up Labour's crumbling support ahead of the general election rather than a well thought-out policy to improve standards in the health service."

Ieuan Wyn Jones, Plaid Cymru's leader in the Welsh assembly, said that replacing Ms Hutt would not make a difference unless policies changed.

"There is widespread distrust in New Labour across Wales because of its handling of the health service," he said.

"However, any change in personnel must be accompanied by a willingness to move away from a failing policy."

Mike German, assembly leader of the Lib Dems, said the move was "only window dressing" unless Dr Gibbons was prepared to take "the necessary action to improve the Welsh NHS",

Dr Brian Gibbons
Brian Gibbons is the son of a former member of the Irish parliament
"The problem was never Jane Hutt personally but her and her Government's ineffective policies," he said.

Dr Tony Calland, chairman of the BMA Welsh council, said Ms Hutt had worked very hard to improve NHS Wales.

"Her strategy was to enhance local accountability through local health boards and increase their working relationships with the unitary authorities in relation to social care through co-terminosity.

It now seems to be an appropriate time to hand over the responsibility of the NHS to a fresh mind
Dr Tony Calland, BMA Welsh council
"This strategy has been successful in some areas of Wales but not in others.

"Jane Hutt worked closely with a variety of organisations throughout the NHS, including BMA Cymru Wales, and we hope that the new minister will continue to forge strong links with the professions.

Dr Calland said the pressure on Ms Hutt had increased over the past year.

"It now seems to be an appropriate time to hand over the responsibility of the NHS to a fresh mind," he said.

Howard Marshall, from public services union Unison, said Ms Hutt did "a good job in difficult circumstances".

"We've had concerns about the health service in Wales for some time, but it's a difficult portfolio," he said.

"I think it's about the right time for a change."


SEE ALSO:
Hutt announces 30m NHS spend
15 Nov 04 |  Wales


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